It’s no secret the NCAA is not well liked. In fact one could say, next to Congress, they are one of the most hated organizations in the country today. Quite possibly, if you took a survey of all college athletes, the NCAA would be declared a future endangered species.
This is expected since the NCAA makes millions off these kids and offers them virtually nothing. The education they get is a plus, yes. However what about the kids that leave school early? And flip that coin. What about kids that have their scholarships cut out from under them. These kids that get a full ride are dealing with one year contracts. Most don’t understand these scholarships are based on a year at a time and there are thousands of stories of kids not performing and having the scholarship pulled to give to a walk-on or another recruit.
Jason Whitlock is a huge man and columnist for the Kansas City Star and AOL Sports. He is also a graduate of Ball State. Whitlock was a guest this week on the HBO Real Sports program hosted by Bryant Gumbel. Whitlock was one member on the panel speaking about the NCAA with former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriquez and former television commentator Billy Packer.
To say Whitlock is not a fan of the NCAA would be an understatement. During the years he has spent time showing the inadequacies of the system and how it affects student-athletes. Yet the organization continues to pad their pockets, ruling over these kids and the schools to the benefit themselves and not the kids.
“We romanticize amateurism somehow and no coaches are signing on to be amateurs. If amateurism is so great, let the coaches’ sign up to be amateurs and take classes for additional degrees while they are coaching.”
While that may not be the ideal situation and is almost impossible to happen, Whitlock’s argument is justified. The coaches are paid millions every year to coach these kids who struggle to get a pizza on Friday night or have gas for their run-down 1982 Chevy. Everyone is making money, but the kids who are the product on the field.
“When you talk about players being paid by an education, you are talking about kids who aren’t prepared to take advantage of that education. “ Whitlock added “If they offered me size 32 jeans, I couldn’t use them.”
It’s a “one size fits all” attitude for the NCAA and colleges when it comes to an athlete entering school and what they get. An 18 year old entering college for the first time, athlete or not, are rarely ready for an education. Or even living on their own for the first time. College represent the “15 pound rule”, some institutions won’t allow incoming freshman to have cars. So to say they are ready for the education they receive, when some athletes have skirted through high school because of their ability is unfair.
Reform has to be done. The attitude of the NCAA on this situation smacks of arrogance. Sooner or later a college player will see his jersey in a sporting goods store, or his image on the latest PlayStation 3 NCAA game. That athlete will hire an attorney and the NCAA could come crumbling down like a house of cards.
Just in time for the new generation.